Scotland's property market 'open for business' with the right political will

The Scottish Property Federation (SPF) has urged the next government to create a strong, stable tax environment, to integrate planning and infrastructure systems and to encourage investment in the private rented sector to ensure that Scotland’s property industry can deliver places for people to work, play and live.

Delegates at today’s Scottish Property Federation Annual Conference, People, Places and Property, heard SPF chairman John Hamilton of Winchburg Developments urge the next government to put planning and investment in infrastructure at the forefront of their programme, while British Property Federation President and Head of Real Assets at Legal & General Bill Hughes warned how the possibility of draconian rent controls could "sound the death knell for the barely emerging build to rent sector"‎. 

In line with this, the SPF has outlined a number of specific recommendations for the next government that it would like to see implemented:

  • A business rates tax system that is reviewed fairly and regularly in order to reflect the real property market.
  • Tax transaction rates that do not stymie the market and are not a disincentive to invest in Scotland.
  • Integration of planning and infrastructure systems in order to make development plans deliverable and we must seize the opportunities of the UK and Scottish Governments’ willingness to engage in city deals to drive the economy at a local level.
  • We must not drive away the opportunity of once in a generation investment in the private rented sector through excessive and inflexible regulation – flexibility as well as fairness are sought by both landlords and tenants.

John Hamilton, chairman of the Scottish Property Federation, commented: “The property industry has a key role to play in delivering new places to work, live and play in Scotland.  The government has a major role to play in aligning its policies with an open for business approach to inward investment.

"We need an open and supportive tax and regulation environment to achieve these aims and to strengthen the economic recovery.    Better co-ordination of planning and infrastructure plans together with a commitment to regular reviews of the business rates tax would be welcomed by the industry. 

“Similarly we must not lose the opportunity of a generation to secure significant investment in our private rented residential sector.  A number of property businesses are making positive contributions to new build PRS and we must not choke off the potential for major investment in a new large scale PRS that is built for purpose.”